The city of Las Vegas has gotten into the reality TV business with the same company that brought us The New Evidence: Are Mermaids Real?
The City Council on Wednesday approved the deal with Discovery Studios to produce a reality TV show featuring willing city staff and council members. The vote to do the deal with the company, a subsidiary of Discovery Communications, was 4-3, with council members Bob Coffin, Bob Beers and Lois Tarkanian voting against it.
Discovery Communications is the parent company of networks including the Discovery Channel, TLC, Animal PLanet, OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network, among others. The stable of shows produced by the corporation includes a wide variety of reality TV, animal shows and speculative pseudo-documentaries.
Coffin, before the vote, noted that any news show can do a television program on city government.
“I feel like we already have reality here,” he said. “They can do it and we can’t stop them… You could go out on the streets right now and film it.”
But that’s not the kind of show Discovery is looking for. Mike Masland, a Discovery Studios executive, told the council that he needed access to “get the integrity that we would want this kind of show to have,” and argued that his company’s products are synonymous with “science, innovation and exploration.”
Some of the other shows in the corporate stable include Cake Boss, Toddlers and Tiaras, Sister Wives, Long Island Medium, Breaking Amish, My Strange Addiction, Finding Bigfoot, Say Yes to the Dress and Here Comes Honey Boo Boo.
The company would produce a short pilot, as many as 26 episodes on an initial run if picked up by a network, and will pay the city $5,000 per episode for the first year. Staff and council members have the option to opt out of filming if they choose.
Councilman Steve Ross speculated that the reality show could help boost the Las Vegas film industry and would help bring city government closer to the people.
Coffin, however, suggested another local government would be better suited for a show.
“I think if you want drama and humor,” he said, “you go to the county.”